We walk through winter mist and wet slippery streets of Wokingham this afternoon, V and I, chatting about cars, their makes and popularity, The topic inversely proportional to the dreamy weather and my relaxed state of mind. But as usual, what all we do for our kids.
The red bricked Wokingham library building barely visible. But the scores of book racks catch my attention. As we hurry across the street, I clearly sense V’s excitement. This is our first trip to a public library in England, and inquisitive about how the system works here. When I reminisce libraries in Sweden, where I used to reside previously; memories of circular buildings, with high pillars, big wooden doors, spiral staircases and enormous collection of classic fiction, contemporary writings, non-fiction literature in very many languages; come back. But this post is not about the structure of libraries, I digress.
I climb the flat, cemented non spiral staircase, landing in heaven. A hall full of books. They smile at me, playing peekaboo, section after section, shelf after shelf, and rack after rack. I touch them, my fingers tremble. I scoop them in my hands, like little new-born babies anticipating a cuddle, a hug. V wanders off in the biography, religious literature, sports and geography section whilst I slow down my steps, walking one ledge at a time. Craning my neck to scan the shelves taller than me, bending and peeking at the lower shelves, kneeling down to the ones which haven’t seen me yet. They shy away a bit. I pick them up, dust them a little, carefully. The smell of paper, some yellow, some as fresh as a daisy. I read the blurbs, scan the fonts, and envisage myself reading the book in a cozy corner on my lovely home.
I am brought back to the real world from my reverie. The librarian announces the closure of library in the next fifteen minutes. I hear a collective sigh, realizing there are a few day dreamers like me, wishing the clock never strikes 5 o’clock. V is running towards me, with a set of his cherished friends. He can’t stop talking about them. He is confused which ones to take home. He is enthused, asks me questions like – till when can he use the library card, can he carry a few books to his boarding house, can he visit the library every weekend, can he share the books with his friends?
At home, Mudit waits for us. V exclaims – “Dadda, today is one of the best days of my life”.
SANITY! BLISS! PEACE!
Does a visit to the library gives you the same delight, an incomparable contentment?